This week's parsha
Spread the Love
I overheard a discussion.
One woman was complaining about her teenage son’s aggravating behavior. “Sometimes, I could just kill him!” She vented.
Unbeknownst to her, the other woman was in the middle of chemotherapy treatment for her own son to fight his life-threatening illness. I observed her tense up at the choice of words.
Calmly, she replied: “Kids will be kids. But beneath it all, we love them so much that we would do anything to keep them healthy -- even with their irritating antics.”
This week’s Torah portion speaks of the death of Moses’s brother, Aaron. “The entire Israel wept for Aaron for thirty days.” (Numbers 20:29)
The entire nation mourned Aaron’s death because he was so beloved to them. The Midrash (Avos d’Rabbi Nosson 12:3) explains that he worked hard at restoring peace between quarrelling friends or spouses.
Aaron would approach each of the disagreeing individuals separately and soften them by saying, “Your friend/spouse is utterly embarrassed over what he did to you! He wishes you would be reconciled.” When the two would later meet, they would be ready to overlook their differences and re-establish their relationship.
We are permitted to modify the truth for the sake of peace, but on face value, it seems like Aaron was actually saying a complete lie, which is not permitted.
But in truth, Aaron’s words were not inherently false (Sichos Kodesh, 5741). To love our fellow is a cardinal mitzvah of the Torah, which we all want to fulfill. While on the outside, these friends or spouses were angry with each other, Aaron was able to help them dig a little deeper to expose their true feelings and wishes.
This week is Gimmel Tammuz, the anniversary of the passing of the Rebbe.
In the first talk that the Rebbe delivered on his official acceptance of leadership, he articulated what would become his mission statement. He spoke about love of one’s fellow human being, as well as the interrelation between loving G‑d and loving His children.
“A person who loves G‑d will eventually come to love what G‑d loves -- all His children. And his love will drive him to wish to bring G‑d’s children close to Torah -- because that’s what G‑d loves.”
There are times that circumstances create barriers between us. Due to the many pressures in our lives, we may sometimes act selfishly or insensitively, or respond angrily or unkindly. But deep down, that’s not really who we are or wish to be.
Loving our fellow means stripping away those external barriers that divide us to find the deepest bonds that connect us. Because, despite irritating antics or behaviors, that love is what is truly real.